BANGOR, Maine — The first victor of the Paul Bunyan Burger Challenge — a food contest that lives up to its name — has been named. Bangor resident Eugene Vaillancourt Jr. devoured the massive burger at the Celebrity Bar & Grill in the Hollywood Casino in Bangor on Sunday.
Vaillancourt narrowly completed the one-hour challenge in 59 minutes, 58 seconds. He said it wasn’t easy finishing the two-pound burger topped with a pound of bacon, four slices of cheese, one tomato, sliced onion and a head of lettuce, served with a pound of french fries.
“By the end of it, it [the food] had no place to go,” Vaillancourt, 31, said. “I don’t think the human stomach should physically expand to fit that much food, but luckily I came out on the right end of it.”
Vaillancourt was the 22nd competitor but the first to complete the challenge — something even local law enforcement and firefighters couldn’t do — at the newly opened restaurant, according to Michael Leonard, the restaurant’s food and beverage operations manager.
“That was added incentive right there,” Vaillancourt said. “I wanted to be the first one.”
Vaillancourt took the crown after the Bangor Fire Department and the Bangor Police Department competed in the challenge for the charity of their choice July 8. None of the contestants completed the challenge, but the fire department won $1,000 for having consumed the most. They donated their prize money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Police Department won $500 for the Special Olympics.
This isn’t Vaillancourt’s first food challenge. He has competed in several employee competitions at jobs he has held, and he attempted the Blazin’ Wing Challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bangor, though he gave up on beating the record after four tries.
“I knew going into it that I was definitely going to be able to fit the food in me,” he said. “It was the time frame that was going to be the issue.”
The Celebrity Bar & Grill warns on its website that the Paul Bunyan Challenge, “This challenge is not for the weak.”
For those who win the Paul Bunyan Burger Challenge, the $32.99 meal is free. They also get bragging rights — and a free T-shirt. The reigning champion’s photo is also displayed in the restaurant.